Alonso leaves hospital, to miss final test

Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:07pm EST
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By Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - McLaren Formula One driver Fernando Alonso will miss this week's final pre-season test in Barcelona after leaving hospital on Wednesday following a big crash three days ago.

The Spaniard, a double world champion, smiled and waved to reporters and fans as he left the hospital at around 1430 local time.

McLaren said in a statement that the 33-year-old would return to his family home in northern Spain for further rest and recuperation and would not be back in the car before the Australian season-opener on March 15.

"He will sit out this week’s final winter test, at which he was due to share driving duties with Jenson Button," the team said.

"Kevin Magnussen, McLaren-Honda’s test and reserve driver, will replace him."

Button will be first in the car at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday. Denmark's Magnussen raced for the team last season when they had Mercedes engines rather than the current Honda power unit.

Alonso has been in hospital since the crash on Sunday, with speculation running wild about what really happened when he hit the wall at the high speed Turn Three.

McLaren issued a detailed statement on Monday blaming gusting wind and ruling out any mechanical failure but that explanation, and Alonso's lengthy stay in hospital, has failed to silence all of the doubters.   Continued...

McLaren's Formula One driver Fernando Alonso of Spain gestures to the media as he leaves a hospital where he has been hospitalized since Sunday, in Sant Cugat, north of Barcelona February 25, 2015. REUTERS/Albert Gea